London, Volume 3

Knight, Charles

1842

LXIX.-Pall Mall.

LXIX.-Pall Mall.

 

 

 

Pall Mall

,

says

A New View of London,

published in , and professing to give an ample account of that city in volumes or sections--

Pall Mall

, a fine spacious street between the

Haymarket

N.E. and

St. James's Street

S.W.; length

580

yards; from

Charing Cross

, near W.,

260

yards.

The precision and scientific accuracy of these admeasurements, to say nothing of the laconic brevity with which they are recorded, furnish a good model for the imitation of travellers whom the Geographical Society may hereafter send to explore unknown regions.

, even at this early period of its history, had already developed the character it has since maintained: for in Evelyn's time we have reason to believe it was not paved; Pepys mentions supping at a tavern in it, calling it

The Old Mall,

and thereby indicating that the tradition of its original destination was then held in fresh remembrance; and in the days of quoteueen Elizabeth there were only a few houses standing where is now the corner of . Down to the era of Club Houses (of which anon) there have been few buildings of architectural pretensions in . Marlborough House (behind a screen of commonplace dwellings), Schomberg House, the Ordnance, Carlton House, and

290

the Opera House in the Haymarket-these are all. The geographer-the Strabo or Ptolemy of London in , we may call him-quoted above, while expatiating on the glories of , incidentally throws some light upon the external appearance of the houses in :--

St. James's Square

,a very pleasant, large, and beautiful square, between

Jermyn Street

N.W. and

Pall Mall

S.E., and between

Charles Street

N.E. and

King Street

S.W.; all very fine buildings (

except those that side towards Pall Mall

), mostly inhabited by the

prime quality

. The area is upwards of

4 1/2

acres, and the centre is from

Charing Cross

W.

570

yards.

Here are houses of 500l. per annum

!

was not, with the few exceptions indicated above, inhabited by

the prime quality,

and the houses

siding towards it

were not fine. It was, however, a frequent resort of the gay world-- of the most thronged and bustling walks or alleys in the great Vanity Fair of London fashion. It was of the principal approaches to ; it was, and still continues to be, a standing-place for carriages which have set down their courtly loads at birthday, drawing-room, or levee, and at the corner of the has stood, since early in the eighteenth century, the theatre,[n.290.1]  devoted almost from its erection to the aristocratic representations of the opera . With such attractions could not fail to become a favourite lounge, and, being such, to draw into it such dealers as minister to luxury. So early as the , we find of their shop exciting the austere suspicion of no less formidable a person than Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., Censor of Great Britain :--

The Censor having observed that there are fine wrought ladies' shoes and slippers put out to view at a great shoemaker's shop towards St. James's end of

Pall Mall

, which create irregular thoughts and desires in the youth of this realm, the said shopkeeper is required to take in these eye-sores, or show cause the next court-day why he continues to expose the same; and he is required to be prepared particularly to answer to the slippers with green lace and blue heels.

From an intimation issued by the same eminent philosopher, on the , in the year above-mentioned, we derive some information regarding of the most frequented coffeehouses of the day:--

This is to give notice to all ingenious gentlemen in and about the cities of London and

Westminster

, who have a mind to be instructed in the noble sciences of music, poetry, and politics, that they repair to the Smyrna Coffeehouse in

Pall Mall

, between the hours of

eight

and

ten

at night, where they may be instructed gratis, with elaborate Essays by word of mouth, on all or any of the above-mentioned arts. The disciples are to prepare their bodies with

three

dishes of Bohea, and purge their brains with

two

pinches of snuff. If any young student gives indication of parts, by listening attentively, or asking a pertinent question,

one

of the professors shall distinguish him by taking snuff out of his box in the presence of the whole audience. N.B. The seat of learning is now removed from the corner of the chimney on the left hand towards the window, to the round table in the middle of the room over against the fire; a revolution much lamented by the porters

and chairmen, who were much edified through a pane of glass that remained broken all the last summer.

Porters and chairmen!

the words carry us back into another world. The locomotion and messages and parcel carrying of the capital were then effected by means of human legs and arms. London was in those days a town which men could walk through, and its business could be transacted without the aid of complicated machinery. As yet, cabs, busses, and Metropolitan Parcels Delivery Companies, were not, and could not be. The very names of chairmen and porters are fast being forgotten; and a raw young Scotsman just come up from Edinburgh, who inquires for either (these terms having in that town been adopted of late years by the venerable fraternity of Celts, which used to rejoice in the euphonious and vernacular designation of

Cadies

--see

Humphrey Clinker

), is apt to be stared at as if he gabbled an unknown tongue--as, indeed, he in most cases does.

But this is a digression: we return to in the beginning of the eighteenth century, when chairmen and porters still haunted the doors of its coffeehouses. In those days a good observer, the author from whom we have been quoting, assures us that no

could speak with even Kidney at St. James's Coffeehouse without clean linen;

and the history of the young gentleman who

on the

9th of September, 1705

, being in his

one

-and-

twentieth

year, was washing his teeth at a tavern-window in

Pall Mall

when a fine equipage passed by, and in it a young lady who looked up at him

(see

Tatler,

No. ), affords us some notion of the forenoon amusements in those places of public resort. All was not thus

innocent and silly sooth,

for in ,

opposite to the lower end of

Pall Mall

,

was a notorious gambling-house, described metaphorically in the

Tatler

as a dog-kennel.

It was in of the houses so slightingly spoken of by the author of

A New View of London

that, a few years earlier than the period to which we have hitherto been referring, the celebrated Beau Fielding, immortalized by Sir Richard Steele under the name of Orlando the Fair, had his abode. Some passages in the evidence given upon the trial of this worthy for bigamy are of a nature to throw light on the economy of a gay bachelor's lodgings in those days. He was visited at his chambers in Pall-Mall by the woman whom he married in the belief that she was a lady of fortune :--

Mrs. Villars, the evening of my lord-mayor's day, brought Mrs. Wadsworth in a mourning-coach and widow's dress to Mr. Fielding's lodgings: he was not within at the time they came thither, but, being sent for, came in soon after, and was extremely complaisant for some time; but at length, though he had been cautioned not to let the lady know that they were his lodgings, yet he could not forbear showing his fine clothes, and what furniture he had, and in a little time after sent for Mrs. Margaretta to sing to her.

The evidence of Mrs. Villars is more specific as to the manner in which he entertained his fair guest:--

He asked her whether she loved singing? He said he would send for Margaretta to come up. When she came, Mr. Fielding bid her sing her

two

songs which he loved, which she did. The

one

was

Charming Creature,

and the other was

Ianthe the Lovely.

After which Mr. Fielding sent for

two

pints of wine and some plum-cakes.

Mrs. Margaretta herself said,--

I remember Mr. Fielding sent for me to his

lodgings in

Pall Mall

. I sung several Italian songs and

one

English, and that was

Ianthe the Lovely.

He desired me to sing that song,

Ianthe the Lovely,

for he said he had the original of it, and had translated it out of the Greek.

When Mrs. Wadsworth visited Mr. Fielding on another occasion, he told his valet

to get wax candles, and sconces, and fires in the rooms;

and some time after her arrival

he came down stairs in great haste, and said, Boucher [his valet], go and bespeak a dish of pickles. I did so, and brought over a cloth and the rest of the things, and left them in the window.

The dish of pickles was the wedding-feast, for on this occasion Mr. Fielding locked the supposed widow and her friend in his apartments till he went and procured

a priest in a long red gown lined with blue, and a long beard and a fur cap,

who performed the marriage ceremony. The lady did not visit him again for or days, and then seems to have put up with pot-luck.

He was not at home when she came; but she went to supper by herself. She had for her supper some toasted cheese, a pint of wine, and a bottle of oat-ale. When he came home, he asked her why she did not send for something better for supper?

The public amusements of were at this period scarcely more refined than those of the neighbouring May Fair.

Certain models,

says Malcolm in his

Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London during the Eighteenth Century,

representing William the

Third

's palaces at Loo, Keswick, and Hunslaerdike, were shown in

1701

, from

ten

in the morning till

one

, and from

two

till

eight

at night, at the White Hart near

Pall Mall

, facing the

Haymarket

, within

two

doors of the glass-lamps.

The proprietors elegantly observe in their advertisement that they were

brought over by outlandish men,

and that,

to render those diversions altogether more delightful and acceptable, there will be a collection of several curiosities to be sold and raffled for at the opening, and likewise every Monday and Friday following, those days being appointed the public raffling-days, besides a great variety of rarities; and to entertain the nobility and gentry (who the Undertakers hope will countenance them with the honour of their company), there shall be on Wednesday, the

14th of January

, a concert of music by the best performers; and if all these diversions please such for whom they are intended, there shall be from time to time great additions made.

The

outlandish men

who brought over the models of the palaces were possibly in league with the king, who may have wished to shame the English into giving him a new palace by showing how much better the Stadtholder of Holland had been lodged than the King of England was. If so, the plot was too refined for this meridian; the outlandish men, finding their exhibition did not pay, were glad to dispose of it to natives, who sought to enhance its attractions by adding the delights of a raffle, concerts, and indefinite promises of something still finer behind. So, notwithstanding sundry and divers models of projected palaces still extant at , Buckingham Palace was the built in England since the Revolution, and a creditable specimen of royal and national taste it is.

In the Pall-Mallians do not seem to have advanced in taste and refinement much beyond their condition in . We again quote from Malcolm :

Some absurd persons were at the expense (!), in

October, 1733

, of procuring a Holland smock, a cap, checked stockings, and laced shoes, which they offered as

prizes to any

four

women who would run for them at

three

o'clock in the afternoon in

Pall Mall

. The race attracted an amazing number of persons, who filled the streets, the windows, and the balconies. The sport attendant on this curious method of killing time induced Mr. Rawlings, high constable of

Westminster

, resident in

Pall Mall

, to prepare a laced hat as a prize to be run for by

five

men, which appears to have produced much mirth to the projector; but the mob, ever on the watch to gratify their propensity for riot and mischief, committed so many excesses, that the sedate inhabitants of the neighbourhood found it necessary to apply to the magistrates for protection, who issued precepts to prevent future runs to the very man most active in promoting them.

But a new era was dawning for at the very time that these swift Camillas were scouring along its plain. Schomberg House, it is true, built in the reign of William III. by the Duke of that name, had rather retrograded: it had fallen into the hands of Astley the painter, who divided it into habitations, reserving the centre for his own residence. The house bestowed upon Nell Gwynne by Charles II., from the back wall of which she horrified the decorous Evelyn by holding a light conversation with the King, never seems to have had any architectural pretensions: it is now occupied by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Marlborough House was scarcely visible from . In the paper on we had occasion to notice the cavalier manner in which Marlborough House, when occupied by

old Sarah,

gave the public to know whether it was peace or war between it and the Court. This is perhaps the most appropriate place to advert to a characteristic scene which occurred in . The City in that year observed with great solemnity the anniversary of Admiral Vernon's birth; and the Duchess of Marlborough presented does to the Lord Mayor, and to each of the Sheriffs, that they might feast their friends on the occasion. These dignitaries returned the compliment by visiting her Grace in state on the .

She received us,

says Mr. Hoare,

in her usual manner, sitting up in her bed; and expressed much satisfaction for the compliment and great honour, as she said, we had done her in returning our thanks; and after an hour's conversation on indifferent matters we. retired.

Lord Grantham, too, had a house in ; and Sir Robert Walpole for some time lived nearer the Duchess Sarah than seems to have been altogether conducive to the preservation of his equanimity.

But these were trifles to the glories preserved for . In Frederick Prince of Wales purchased what an erudite historian of London calls

the original Carlton House and Gardens of the Earl of Burlington.

The name of the proprietor seems almost to warrant that, in his hands, the English architecture of the day had already done its worst; but royalty can prompt the genius even of absurdity to flights beyond what ordinary mortals have the power to inspire. Flitcroft is said to have drawn a plan, in , intended as an improvement of Carlton House; and Kent laid violent hands upon the gardens, said by the historian above alluded to to be

very beautiful,

and full as retired as if in the country.

For this sequestered spot Kent designed

a cascade;

and a saloon was erected in , and paved with Italian marble brought to England by Lord Bingley and the immortal Bubb Doddington.

The walls were adorned with rich paintings and statues; and the chair of state was of crimson velvet, embroidered with gold,

which cost

five hundred pounds

. A bagnio near it

consisted of

encrusted marble.

It was not till that Prince of Wales completed what the kindred taste of another had begun: but there is much to be told of before we reach that era.

It was about the-same time that Carlton House was undergoing the process of

translation,

as Nick Bottom's cronies would have called it, into a royal residence, that the literature of received its development. Previous attempts appear to have been made. Letitia Pilkington at time opened a pamphlet-shop here; but her stock-in-trade consisted only of a couple of dozens of an unsaleable pamphlet, generously presented to her by the author or by the publisher, and a few secondhand prints, and the concern was soon wound up. In , however, Dodsley, born and bred to be the appropriate link between new and old Pall Mall-between the of mere Court gaiety and the of elegant literature-Dodsley, born a poet and bred a footman, published his

Muse in Livery.

In he opened, with the assistance of his patrons, a bookseller's shop in .

The Muse in Livery

is indeed the work of a footman: it is professional all over. The very frontispiece (the representing a young man with hand attached by a shackle-bolt to concentric rings, inscribed

poverty,

ignorance,

&c., and extending the hand which he has wrenched from its confinement, with the handcuff still there, but ornamented by a pair of wings, to the sun, the god of poetry) is typical of the sentiment and imagination of the particoloured race. Fielding, in the opening of his

Joseph Andrews,

has presented us with a full-length portrait of the footman of that age; and, to parody a favourite expression of coal-merchants when their commodity rises in price,

footmen were footmen then.

It was only in. that the Right Hon. Charles Earl of Carlisle, Earl Marshal of England during the minority of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, moved thereto by

many mischiefs and dangerous accidents occasioned by footmen wearing of swords,

had found it advisable to

order that no footman attending any of the nobility and gentry of his Majesty's realms shall wear any sword, hanger, bayonet, or other such-like offensive weapon, during such time as they or any of them shall reside or be within the cities of London and

Westminster

.

And it was not till a good many years later that a Townley arose to break the spirit of this ancient and honourable fraternity, by his

High Life below Stairs,

as effectually as the Minister of George II. broke the spirits of the Scots Highlanders by the Act of Parliament forbidding them to wear their national dress. Dodsley flourished as a footman in the yet palmy days of the profession, when (see for the particulars) the gentlemen of the cloth were still, in their own especial gallery, lords paramount of theatrical criticism. To have been drawn by a non-professional hand, Fielding's sketch must be allowed to have merit; and so has

Humphrey Clinker,

although that great man, living in the declining days of his order, had betaken himself to Methodism; but still a portrait of a footman and his tribe by of themselves must be allowed to be the more authentic. Dodsley has given us a full, true, and particular account of his thinkings and doings from the time of his rising in the morning till the close of the day's labours, which commences thus:--

295

As soon as laziness will let me,

I rise from bed, and down I set me

To cleaning glasses, knives, and plate,

And such-like dirty-work as that,

Which, by the bye, is what I hate.

This done, with expeditious care

To dress myself I straight prepare;

I clean my buckles, black my shoes,

Powder my wig, and brush my clothes,

Take off my beard, and wash my face,

And then I'm ready for the chace.

A few rapid and abruptly cadenced lines convey a lively impression of the multitudinous errands on which his lady despatches him: then follows a savoury description of the odours from the kitchen announcing the approach of the dinnerhour that makes 's mouth water. The meditative footman tells how he lays the cloth, decants the wine, ale, and beer, and declares-

This is the only pleasant hour

Which I hive in the twenty-four;

For whilst I unregarded stand,

With ready salver in my hand,

And seem to understand no more

Than just what's called for out to pour,

I hear and mark the courtly phrases,

And all the elegance that passes.

We reluctantly pass over his graphic account of the ceremonies of the tea-table to hurry to his public appearance in state when the hour of paying visits arrives:--

The chairman straight prepares his chair,

A lighted flambeau I prepare;

And, orders given where to go,

We march along, and bustle through

The parting crowds, who bustle off

To give us room. Oh, how you'd laugh

To see me strut before a chair,

And with a sturdy voice and air

Crying, By your leave, Sir! Have a care!

From place to place with speed we fly,

And Rat-a-tat the knockers cry;

Pray is your lady, sir, within?

If no, go on; if yes, we enter in.

Tastes are free: we have no mind to enter into controversy with any who may prefer Steele's more amplified description of a similar scene in the th

Tatler:

--

There has not, for some years, been such a tumult in our neighbourhood as this evening about

six

. At the lower end of the lane the word was given that there was a great funeral coming by. The next moment came forward in a very hasty, instead of a very solemn manner, a long train of lights, when at last a footman, in very high youth and health, with all his force, ran through the whole art of beating the door next to me, and ended his rattle with the true finishing rap. This did not only bring

one

to the door at which he knocked, but to that of every

one

in the lane, in an instant. Among the rest, my country maid took the alarm, and, immediately running to me, told me there was a fine, fine

lady, who had

three

men with burial torches making way before her, carried by

two

men upon poles, with looking-glasses on each side of her, and

one

glass also before, she herself appearing the prettiest that ever was.

In justice, however, to Mr. Dodsley, we must remark that Steele, to heighten the effect of his description, employs the artifice of carrying the visit into a region where such sights were unknown. We may add that Dodsley writes like an experienced footman-Steele like less familiarised with the ceremony.

But be this as it may, none but a footman, none but who could say of the deeds he narrates

quorum pars magna fui,

could give, as Dodsley has done, the scene in the servants' hall while their mistresses are chatting abovestairs:--

Then to the hall I guide my steps,

Amongst a crowd of brother skips,

Drinking small beer and talking smut,

And this fool's nonsense putting that fool's out;

Whilst oaths and peals of laughter meet,

And he who's loudest is the greatest wit.

But here among us the chief trade is

To rail against our lords and ladies;

To aggravate their smallest failings,

To expose their faults with saucy railings.

For my part, as I hate the practice,

And see in them how base and black 'tis,

To some bye-place I therefore creep,

And sit me down to feign to sleep;

And could I with old Morpheus bargain,

'T would save my ears much noise and jargon.

But down my lady comes again,

And I'm released from all my pain

that is, he is hurried off to conclude the evening at the play or opera. This, it will be allowed, is conceived in the true spirit of a footman, even to the peaching against his fellows, and affecting that he had never taken part in their uncivil comments on their betters; for, be it remembered, Dodsley's poetical vein was encouraged by his masters and mistresses, and this poem, and all the rest, were composed with a view to their being perused by them.

It may not be out of place to remark here that, curtailed though the footmen of our degenerate days are of the proportions and appendages of their progenitors, they are closer copies of them than is found to be the case with any other class in gay and genteel society. On the great gala occasions, when the nobles of the land present themselves to their sovereign, there is some attempt made by them to revive the finery of former days, but court suits, bags, and swords are only to be worn gracefully by those to whom custom has made them a nature-almost what his fir and tail are to the monkey. The wearers of these antique adornments for a day walk as awkwardly in them as David did in Saul's armour. Not so their footmen, whose daily dresses are the only ones a beau of quoteueen Anne's time would acknowledge to be passable were he to rise from the grave, and who by daily use learn to wear them with a grace. We never stand at St. James's on a levee or drawing-room day, and observe the gentlemen (civilians at least) so ashamed of their unwonted array as to lose more than half the pleasure of being presented to royalty, and mark the , easy, self-possessed

297

deportment of the gentlemen's gentlemen, with their fine coats, goldheaded staffs, and bouquets, but we are led irresistibly to think how the whole pageant would be improved were they and their masters to change places. is, on such occasions, the spacious hall to which the

brother skips

guide their steps. We will not take upon us to say that Dodsley's description of the manners of the class in is altogether applicable now-indeed our impression decidedly is that their deportment is marked by more gentleness and refinement --but they still retain their predilection for beer, though, perhaps, their drink cannot with strict accuracy be called

small beer.

There is something extremely piquant in watching the dainty and minikin airs of of these gentlemen picking his steps from the tap of the to where his friend the coachman remains glued to his seat (for what Talleyrand said, in his eloge on Count Reinhard, of a minister of foreign affairs, may equally be applied to a coachman--

il ne doit pas cesser un moment dans les vingt-quatre heures d'être ministre des affaires étrangeres

), himself arrayed in a peach-blossom coat that might have made Goldsmith envious, inexpressibles of a brilliant orange bordering on pomegranate, irreproachable white silk stockings, and in his breast a bouquet of the rarest and most delicate exotics the green-house can afford, carrying in his hand the while a pewter pot, bright, it is true, as silver, but betraying, by a indentations and roughnesses, its age and hard service, with the rich froth, of the colour of chocolate cream or the foam of an embrowned mountain-stream, mantling over it. And if they have no Dodsley among them in these latter days --have they not a

Yellowplush?

We have said that

The Muse in Livery

was an apt designation--that the Muse, if Muse she were, had contracted the sentiments and habits of the servants' hall as if she were to the manner born. But

honours change manners,

as the old copy-line hath it: Dodsley the bookseller was a very different man. With wonderful good sense he spoke of the employment of his early life quietly as a matter of course; and he displayed good taste and kind feeling on many occasions. It was he who purchased Johnson's original publication (); and it was he who, when in he started his

Annual Register,

had the boldness and discrimination to employ as his historian no less

eminent a hand

than Edmund Burke. Dodsley's shop was the resort-and who that has known what an exquisite lounge a bookseller's shop is, ever cared for another?--of Young and Akenside, of Horace Walpole, the Wartons, and Burke. Dodsley too was the publisher of several of Pope's works. From , when he opened shop, to , when he died, Dodsley's establishment was deservedly of the lions of .

We learn from the

Tatler

that the wits of quoteueen Anne's time were in the habit of repairing at times to and its vicinity. But when they did this they, in a great measure, laid aside their literary character, and appeared as men of gaiety and fashion, or of the great world of politics.

All accounts,

writes Isaac Bickerstaff, in his introductory paper,

of gallantry, pleasure, and entertainment, shall be under the article of White's Chocolate House; poetry under that of Will's Coffee House; learning under the title of Grecian; Foreign and Domestic News you will have from St. James's Coffee House.

And although in Dodsley's day, and since, they did not altogether lay aside their literature on

298

entering , they continued to wear it, as Ophelia allowed her friends to wear their rue,

with a difference.

Accordingly we hear little of Dr. Johnson's visits to these regions: for the Doctor, although he certainly did purchase a scarlet waistcoat and gold-laced hat to appear in at the night of his tragedy --thinking that a dramatic poet ought to dress less gravely than he had been wont-cannot with strict propriety be called a gay man. Gibbon, on the contrary, luxuriates in the atmosphere of St. James's.

Those who know Gibbon only as the author of the

Decline and Fall

ought not to lose a moment in making his acquaintance through his diary and letters, as published by Lord Sheffield;--would that the task of editing them had fallen into the hands of some less a slave to the feeling expressed in the cant speech--

What will Mrs. Grundy say?

The ineffable coxcombry of this editor, affecting to think that a full-grown public was not as competent to judge of what was wholesome and what dangerous doctrine as himself, and under this pretext laying before the poor innocents nothing that did not think they might safely partake of, has

cut us here a monstrous cantle out

of the edifying revelations of Gibbon. Johnson, on the hand, as has been justly remarked by Mr. Croker, did not mix in high society, and Burke was too earnest a character to enjoy its frivolities. Horace Walpole made literature his relaxation. Gibbon is almost the only real of his day who mingled with the fashionable world on a footing of equality. And his journals and letters, mutilated though they be, afford us some pleasing glimpses of it. We like to catch the sententious historian recording that he writes from the Club of Almack, or of Boodle, in a velvet embroidered coat, with lace ruffles. His participation in the Bachelor's Masquerade at the Pantheon raises him per cent. in our estimation; and but for his pen the controversy among the proprietors of that establishment concerning immaculate and leopard beauties would have perished. He does the honours of the social position of a silent M.P. with infinite discretion, and with great glee and good humour.

In his time that truly English invention the Clubhouse seems to have attained its full development; at least, the following picture might still be matched without much difficulty:--

November 14, 1762

. I dined at the Cocoa Tree with Holt, who, under a great appearance of oddity, conceals more real honour, good sense, and even knowledge, than half those who laugh at him. We went thence to the play (The Spanish Friar), and, when it was over, returned to the Cocoa Tree. That respectable body, of which I have the honour to be a member, affords every evening a sight truly English.

Twenty

or

thirty

, perhaps, of the

first

men of the kingdom in point of fashion and fortune, supping at little tables covered with a napkin, in the middle of a coffee-room, upon a bit of cold meat or a sandwich, and drinking a glass of punch. At present we are full of king's councillors and lords of the bedchamber, who, having jumped into the Ministry, make a very singular medley of their old principles and language with their modern ones.

Gibbon was a member of Boodle's, White's, Almack's, and perhaps of some more. He gave the preference to the last-mentioned:--

Almack's,

June 24, 1776

.

Town grows empty, and this house, where Ihave passed many agreeable hours, is the only place which still invites the flower of the English youth. The style of living, though

somewhat

expensive, is

exceedingly pleasant, and, notwithstanding the rage of play, I have found more entertainment and even rational society here than in any other club to which I belong.

The number of clubhouses has increased since Gibbon's time, and also their architectural pretensions. is a favourite locality with them, and bids fair to become a street of club-houses. In the centre the

houses of call

of the rival political parties, the Carlton and the Reform Club, keep watch and ward over each other. Near the west end of the street the United University opens wide its doors to the alumni of Oxford and Cambridge, and is much
beloved of such clergymen as, like Vanbrugh's Lady Grace, love to be a dissipated

soberly.

Passing to the east from the Reform Club, there is the Traveller's, for the reception of such as have

swum in a gondola;

the Athenaeum, for the worshippers of the goddess Minerva, who stands over the door with downward-pointing finger, as if saying,

This man may enter--that man may not;

and the United Service, which appears, by the simple and somewhat barn-like style of its architecture, intended to keep its inmates in mind of life in the barracks. But is far too narrow to contain these multitudinous establishments: they overflow into all kinds of neighboring streets. At the corner of is the Union, beloved of the late James Smith; in is the Junior United Service, and a club with a very hard name, the Erectheium--an establishment that stands in somewhat the same relation to the Athenaeum that a tap does to its hotel; in the Whites', Brookes's, Crockford's, the Guards', and some more, crowd upon each other; and the Colonial has nestled itself in the house once Sir Philip Francis's in St.

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James's Square. This is a tolerable list, and yet some clubs of note remain unnamed, as, for example, the Wyndham.

The features of all are much the same; places they are wherein to murder time; some are places of amusement under the pretence of promoting serious business,--and some are places where serious business is sometimes transacted in the yawning intervals of pleasure. The political clubs are of considerable use to political leaders, especially when their party is in opposition. Ministerial leaders can ingratiate themselves with a partisan whom they would not like to admit to their own table by sending him and his family cards to a quoteueen's ball; but the Opposition have no such lightning-conductor to carry off their vulgarian friends, so they allow them a kind of equality within the walls of the club as a set-off. Politics are not altogether excluded from other clubs, indeed they are a condiment indispensable at every English table. When Vanbrugh erected his theatre in the in ,

on the

first

stone that was laid were inscribed the words LITTLE WHIG, as a compliment to a celebrated beauty, the toast and pride of that party.

Club loungers naturally betake themselves to politics, as fine ladies have been known to do, for a relief to ennui. The idle man of fashion seeks relief in business sufficiently important to be exciting, in the same manner as the grave man of business is apt to plunge into dissipation for relief. And in both cases it is odds that the fresh new-comer outstrips the old in the race. The decline of drinking and gaming may have been favourable to political amusements: men must have some stimulus; and in this decorous age, though a De Roos will arise from time to time, men do not venture to shake the dice-box so pertinaciously as Charles James Fox. That habit, however, survived in full force to a not very distant period. Club-houses, their character, rise, and progress, deserve a chapter to themselves: we have taken them up at present on the same principle that Falstaff says Worcester took up rebellion--they lay in our way, and we found them.

But to our tale.

The transformation of Carlton House into a nursery for the younger sprouts of royalty has already been noticed, and a hint given that the decorations commenced under Frederick Prince of Wales were carried to their height by George Prince of Wales and Prince Regent. certainly has gained by the substitution of the airy open space between it and the Duke of York's Pillar, the Athenaeum and the United Service Clubs, for Carlton House. That palace, probably because it stood on the declivity towards the Park, looked low and insignificant, and the screen of Ionic columns in front did not much mend the matter.

Care colonne, che fatti qua?

Non sapiamo, in verità

was the sarcastic dialogue inscribed upon them by some Italian refugee, who had brought a taste for real art from his own country. Sheridan's allusion to them was not much more complimentary. About the time that the Duke of York took possession of Melbourne House, now Lady Dover's, near , of which the most remarkable feature is the cupola in front, some discussions were raised (no uncommon case) in Parliament about the debts of the royal brothers. A considerable amount of virtuous indignation was of course

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expressed by the Opposition of the day; and, some of their remarks having been reported to Sheridan when he entered the House;

I wonder,

said he,

what amount of punishment of these young men would satisfy some people! Has not the

one

got into the Roundhouse, and the other into the

Pillory

?

Carlton House did not carry many historical reminiscences with it when it was pulled down. It was the Regent's residence during the whole time of the

Peninsular war, but its connexion with the martial exploits of that period was merely accidental: the more distinguished soldiers who had occasion to visit London got an occasional dinner there. It derived a temporary from so many of Moore's squibs being directed against it and its occupant; but this interest is of the kind upon which time operates with most destructive effect. or years have a withering influence over lampoons. Already it is as difficult to enter into the spirit of those of Tom Moore as of those of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams; and the Irish poet himself, in a fit of real or affected modesty, has gone far to accelerate the work of time. In vindicating himself from the charge of having repaid the hospitality of the Regent with satire, he has succeeded in proving that he could know very little of that Prince's personal habits and domestic arrangements; and has thus lowered the value of his rhymes--in so far as they might have been taken to convey authentic information regarding the manners of a Court--to that of the lampoons of any newspaper hack.

Non omnis moriar

may, however, still be the motto of the old house. Something of Carlton House will still survive so long as the fame of Beau Brummell lives. Since his star was eclipsed, England has, properly speaking, had no beau, and indeed no character to supply the vacancy. He was the last of a race now apparently extinct. Contrary to the anticipations of a great poet, the dynasty of dandies has not been succeeded by some other herd of imitated imitators. The sceptre of foppery, handed down from Sir Fopling Flutter

He's knight of the shire, and represents you all,

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through Sir Plume,

Of amber-colour'd snuff-box justly vain,

And the nice conduct of a clouded cane,

found no hand capable of wielding it after the deposition of Brummell. Fops, beaux, macaronies, dandies--the same things under various names--are extinct. Prize-fighters and puppies have both gone out. Tom Cribb's parlour has contracted a dingy appearance-you may write your name in the dust which covers the tables; and your tailor finds difficulty in inventing a name of sufficient eminence in dress to pass off a new cut or shade of trousers.

retains unchanged its public character. There is Vulliamy's, to attract those who are curious in taking note how they lose their time; and Senior's, for those who think the occasional purchase of a foreign book stamps them literary characters. compartment of Schomberg House is occupied by of the most recherche mercers of the day; military clothiers abound; Sams is to be found at end of the street, and Moon and Graves at the other. Besides, the clubs are a centre of attraction to those who are members, and also to those who would have people infer, from seeing them in this quarter, that they are members. The Opera House draws gay crowds at night, and the British Institution in the daytime. So the dash and glance of carriages as they wind through the crowd in mazy evolutions--the flutter of silks, waving of hands and glances of eyes, the brief dear whisper leaning on the door of the landaulet--all are as of old,

the everlasting to be that hath been.

Sometimes a transient cause of excitement enhances the bustle: thus during the last general election the array of led horses, drawn up rank and file in front of the Carlton Club, was positively imposing: in the effervescence of their success, the inmates seemed preparing to take by a charge of cavalry.

The domesticities of seem to have experienced little alteration since. the days of Beau Fielding. It is there that the beau's literary namesake places Nightingale and Tom Jones when they leave the lodgings of Mrs. Miller in . And to this day a commission of inquiry might find similar loose hangerson upon society resident there. These lodgings are also much affected by certain members of parliament, on account of their proximity to the clubs: the Irish predominate, though we have a dim recollection of English M.P. addicted to poetry, who took up his abode in of the houses (already more than once alluded to) between and , in order that the view of the Carlton on side might remind him of the stern realities of life, while the contemplation of the shrubs and duck-pond of the square on the other might sooth him in his imaginative moods. It was under these auspices that he composed his immortal sonnet,

A poet-statesman at the grave of Jane Jones.

Nor is altogether destitute of tragic associations, though certainly those of a lighter and gayer complexion predominate. In the paper on

Piccadilly

we commemorated Sir Thomas Wyatt's march along it, when a cannon-shot from the quoteueen's forces occupying the hill above killed or of his followers, and drove in some yards of the park-wall. It was nearly opposite the southwest corner of the Opera House that Mr. Thynne was assassinated by the retainers of Count Königsmark- of them a strange compound of Dirk Hatteraick (

Virtue! Donner! I always accounted to my employers for the last stiver!

)

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and the French Countess, who was of opinion that God Almighty would think twice before he damned a person of good family. And it was in the (in the very house where gas poured its fairy radiance on a street in the beginning of this century--not far from the spot where experiments are now making on the efficacy of the Bude light in street illumination) that William Lord Byron killed his cousin, Mr. Chaworth, in an extempore duel. The memory of this transaction has been longer preserved than it might otherwise have been from its bearing on the history of the poet who inherited the title; and yet, for those who find the study of the strange windings and cross-turns of human character attractive, the story is not devoid of an interest of its own. The young men were cousins; Lord Byron seems to have had more mind, to have been more considerate, than the other.- In the discussion (about the preservation of game) in which the fatal quarrel originated, he not only embraced the more creditable side of the argument, but the very taunts and jeers thrown out on the occasion imply that he acted upon the principles he advocated. But he was a slave to that constitutional timidity which degrades a man in his own eyes quite as much as in the eyes of the world. His intellectually less gifted cousin was a finer animal-a frank, straightforward, confident being-borne onward by the sanguine spirits of perfect health--a graceful object to all beholders-and tainted with the overbearing spirit which want of reflection generates in such spirits. It is clear that in his contempt for his cousin William's timidity he had overlooked his good qualities, and recklessly and causelessly been in the habit of wounding his feelings by alluding to it. It is equally clear that these insults had sown the seeds of bitterness in a mind naturally of kind dispositions, and possessed of sufficient sense to struggle against, but not to master, the malignant feelings called up by persevering, unprovoked contumely. The deportment of Chaworth, when invited by Lord Byron to enter a separate room, was that of a man astonished to see the worm he has trodden upon turning on him. The deportment of Lord Byron after he had wounded his adversary was that of a conscious coward astonished at his own momentary valour:--

I am as brave as any man,

he cried, as he allowed himself to be disarmed. Chaworth died in character; incapable of seeing that he had given any just cause of provocation; triumphing in the thought that he was conquered only because he was taken somewhat unawares. The fate of the survivor was still more melancholy: to bear about for years the consciousness that he had killed a near relation without convincing the world that he possessed courage, and with the damning sense of cowardice still clinging to him.

Enough has been said to show what throngs of associations crowd for those who-living more in books and in the memory of the past than in the busy world , and not which chance has made them denizens, close the eyes of their body to open

The visionary eye whose lid

Moves not and cannot fall ;

- they who, like poor Susan, can behold

Volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,

While a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside ;

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or, like Old Adam, the Farmer of Tilsbury Vale,

While he watches the clouds that pass over the streets,

With a look of such earnestness often will stand,

You might think he'd twelve reapers at work in the Strand

see other sights in Pali Mall than the carriages that hurry and the loungers that saunter past them. Full

in their mind's eye,

Beau Brummell stands, with a hand in each pocket of his swallow-tailed coat, bringing the pendant ribbons round before him, and looking with an air of grave mockery upon Bubb Doddington, who, in his best-fancied birthday suit, bows right to Beau Fielding attired in the very dress he showed to Mrs. Wadsworth, and left to Sir Fopling Flutter, who, in the

sacred periwig

which

wind ne'er blew nor touch of hat profaned,

Returns the diving bow he did adore,

Which;with a shag casts all the hair before,

Till he with full decorum brings it back,

And rises with a water-spaniel shake.

Not far distant, Dodsley, in the periwig and full coat of burgess

well to do in the world,

beneath which peep out a pair of irreproachable

yellow plushes,

bows deferentially to Burke, casting a sidelong glance of patronage, not unmixed with respect, upon the colossal slouch of Johnson, in his coat of rusty-brown and unchanging scratch-wig. In the distance the shadowy form of Thynne points to his wound, and Chaworth frowns on Lord Byron, who shuffles past as if he would fain apologise for having the presumption to kill him, but cannot muster courage to do it. The Duchess. of Cleveland's carriage is disappearing round the far corner of the street with Wycherley's in full pursuit, at which Beau Fielding smiles meaningly, as who would say,

My turn will come.

 
 
 
Footnotes:

[n.290.1] It was flourishing in 1709 , as may be inferred from the following advertisement :-- On Saturday night last a gentlewoman's husband strayed from the playhouse in the Haymarket: if the lady who was seen to take him up will restore him she shall be asked no questions, he being of no use but to the owner. -- Tatler, Nov. 14, 1709.